There are four reasons that we recommend using a pen for confinement while building crate love before using a crate for confinement. First of all, if your puppy should develop bad feelings about his confinement, it would be toward a pen which has only a temporary use. The crate is for life. Secondly, because a pen is larger, it is more tolerable than a crate. A third reason we recommend a pen is because of the possibility of some puppies peeing in their confinement area whether it is a crate or a pen. Most do not, but when it does happen, it can set crate and house-training back for days or even weeks and at its worse, a puppy could habituate himself to laying in the pee out of necessity and a habit could begin that could be very difficult to break. If a puppy can't hold it in a pen, we give a temporary solution....a washable bed pad. Most good breeders have trained their puppies to pee in specific locations before going to new homes. We've not found that any harm whatsoever is done nor is house-training delayed when allowing a puppy to continue his
backup plan for a few more weeks. Our 7-8 week old puppies ALL prefer to go outside than to use their indoor potty area, but some need more time than others for bladder development to be sufficient for long periods of time in confinement. You will be saving your crate confinement until your puppy is older and less likely to have accidents that would set your training back while at the same time training conditioned good responses to the crate by using the methods suggested on our page entitled Building Desire for a Crate.
There is an argument that a crate is better even from the start. Smaller is better in deterring potty accidents, so in that sense, a crate is better. However, a puppy that is used to clean surroundings is sufficiently motivated to
hold it in a small pen if they are able. This is not true for puppies who were started off in kennel settings where kennels are cleaned only once or twice a day. These puppies need a big motivation not to potty in one end of their den while they sleep in the other. However, our puppies are raised in an environment that is kept cleaned throughout the day and they would prefer to hold it than pee in their
den even if it is larger than a crate. If they can't hold it, we provide a washable bed pad and have found that as their bladders grow and as they are rewarded for going outside, they will very quickly quit using the pad at all as long as they are taken out after a reasonable amount of time. We don't advocate encouraging peeing on a pad and suggest that family members clean the pad and take their puppy out more often. Peeing on a pad should still be treated as an accident. The pad is simply the back-up while the puppy is very young and will be taken away within a couple of weeks.